In the Halo series, central character Cortana–an artificial intelligence–appears to be naked. But that’s not exactly true, according to Halo franchise development director Frank O’Connor. In a new interview with GamesRadar, O’Connor shed new light on the “conceit” of her character and more.
“She’s not actually nude because she has neither clothes nor private parts,” O’Connor said. “She’s effectively just wearing kind of a holographic body stocking; that’s the conceit. However, [being naked is what it] makes you think of.”
According to the Halo fiction, AI characters like Cortana choose how they want to appear to reflect their personalities. Others elect to “wear” clothing, such as wizard garb or the outfit of a World War II pilot. But Cortana is no ordinary AI.
“In Cortana’s case, because she’s illegally cloned from a real human brain, she’s a little bit different than other AIs,” O’Connor said. “And one of the reasons she [dresses as she does] is to attract and demand attention. And she does it to put people off so that they’re on their guard when they’re talking to here and that she has the upper hand in those conversations.”
O’Connor went on to say that Cortana’s fashion statement is somewhat like the reverse of the classic nightmare where you’re naked in school and everyone laughs at you.
“She’s kind of projecting that back out to her audience and winning points, intellectual points, as a result,” he said. “Again, that’s not why she was designed like that; that’s kind of how we backed into our fiction. But that’s the conceit and that’s why she does it. And she expresses that in her other behaviors and we’ve invested in that aspect of her persona.”
The latest game in the Halo series, Halo 5: Guardians, launched on Tuesday for Xbox One. GameSpot’s Halo 5 review scored the sci-fi shooter an 8/10. Microsoft will support the game with post-launch multiplayer DLC, but it sounds like story-based expansions are not in the cards.